Here it is folks, the game everyone outside the state of Alabama and the Catholic religion wants to see in the BCS National Championship Game.
Uh, just one little tweak—the game will be played in Glendale, AZ, instead of Miami, FL at the 2013 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, one of five venues for the Bowl Championship Series.
No matter. The Oregon Ducks and the Kansas State Wildcats will have better chips at their bowl. There might be salsa, too.
Here's your complete rundown for the 42nd annual Fiesta Bowl.
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium (the one that looks like a big barrel cactus): Glendale, AZ. Capacity 73,000
When: Thursday, January 3, 2013, at 5:30 p.m. PST
Radio: ESPN Radio
Live Streaming: Watch ESPN
Betting Line: Oregon -9.5
The key storyline for this game can be summed up in one word: offense.
Oregon and Kansas State each have a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate: running back Kenjon Barner and quarterback Collin Klein. The Ducks average 50.8 points per game, and the Wildcats average 40.7.
Kansas State's star quarterback, Collin Klein, has led his team to a No. 55 ranking in total offense this season, with an average of 410.42 yards per game.
Oregon fans scoff at that number. The Ducks are No. 4 nationally with an average of 550.08 yards per game. Oregon has scored 85 touchdowns this year, compared to the Wildcats' 62.
Both teams are effective in the red zone. Oregon has been there 70 times and scored 63 of those time. Kansas State has been inside its opponents' 20-yard-line 68 times and converted on 59 of those.
And here's a telling stat: The Ducks have run 989 plays to the Wildcats' 771.
On paper, it looks like Kansas State, a team who gave up 52 points to Baylor, will have trouble keeping up with Oregon.
WR: 16 Daryle Hawkins - 11 Bralon Addison
LT: 64 Tyler Johnstone - 74 Kyle Long
LG: 74 Kyle Long - 54 Hamani Stevens
C: 55 Hroniss Grasu - 78 Karrington Armstrong
RG: 60 Ryan Clanton - 61 Nick Cody
RT: 75 Jake Fisher - 71 Everett Benyard III
TE: 15 Colt Lyerla - 85 Pharaoh Brown
WR: 1 Josh Huff - 19 Eric Dungy OR 18 Dwayne Stanford
WR: 7 Keanon Lowe - 89 Will Murphy
QB: 8 Marcus Mariota - 2 Bryan Bennett
RB: 24 Kenjon Barner - 6 De'Anthony Thomas
DE: 66 Taylor Hart - 44 DeForest Buckner
DT: 65 Isaac Remington - 9 Arik Armstead
DT: 90 Ricky Heimuli - 56 Alex Balducci
DE: 96 Dion Jordan - 91 Tony Washington
MLB: 47 Kiko Alonso - 34 Rahim Cassell
WLB: 46 Michael Clay - 22 Derrick Malone
SLB: 25 Boseko Lokombo - 33 Tyson Coleman
CB: 27 Terrance Mitchell - 3 Dior Mathis
FS: 4 Erick Dargan - 26 Ben Butterfield
SS: 12 Brian Jackson - 17 James Scales
CB: 14 Ifo Ekpre-Olomu - 13 Troy Hill
KO: 41 Alejandro Maldonado - 93 Rob Beard
PK: 93 Rob Beard - 41 Alejandro Maldonado
P: 49 Jackson Rice - 41 Alejandro Maldonado
KR: 6 De'Anthony Thomas - 7 Keanon Lowe
PR: 6 De'Anthony Thomas - 11 Bralon Addison
LS: 39 Drew Howell (punts) - 59 Jeff Palmer (PAT/FG)
HLD: 49 Jackson Rice - 2 Bryan Bennett
Who the heck knows? Oregon does not release injury information. Safety Isaac Dixon has missed the last few games for unknown reasons and is believed to be questionable for the bowl game.
WR: 3 Chris Harper - 88 Torrell Miller
LT: 78 Cornelius Lucas - 64 Tomasi Mariner
LG: 55 Cody Whitehair - 50 Nick Puetz
C: 66 B.J. Finney - 61 Drew Liddle
RG: 79 Keenan Taylor - 77 Boston Stiverson
RT: 73 Tavon Rooks - 55 Cody Whitehair
TE: 80 Travis Tannahill - 85 Zach Trujillo
QB: 7 Collin Klein - 4 Daniel Sams OR 15 Sam Johnson
RB: 33 John Hubert - 29 Angelo Pease
FB: 48 Braden Wilson - 89 Zach Nemechek
WR: 16 Tyler Lockett - 14 Curry Sexton
WR: 86 Tramaine Thompson - 81 Kyle Klein
DE: 97 Adam Davis - 94 Alauna Finau
DT: 92 Vai Lutui - 95 Travis Britz
DT: 71 John Sua - 99 Javonta Boyd
DE: 42 Meshak Williams - 44 Ryan Mueller
WLB: 50 Tre Walker - 39 Jonathan Truman
SLB: 2 Justin Tuggle OR 26 Jarell Childs
MLB: 46 Arthur Brown - 53 Blake Slaughter
CB: 3 Allen Chapman - 19 Carl Miles
FS: 12 Ty Zimmerman - 29 Kent Gainous
SS: 23 Jared Milo - 22 Thomas Ferguson
CB: 21 Nigel Malone - 15 Randall Evans OR 7 Kip Daily
PK: 10 Anthony Cantele - 6 Brandon Klimek
KO: 10 Anthony Cantele
HOLD: 9 Ryan Doerr
P: 9 Ryan Doerr - 38 Mark Krause
LS: 63 Marcus Heit - 46 Dalton Converse
PR: 86 Tramaine Thompson - 16 Tyler Lockett
KOR: 86 Tramaine Thompson - 16 Tyler Lockett
Coach Bill Snyder is not any more forthcoming about injuries than Chip Kelly. It is believed that FS Ty Zimmerman has a leg injury, but he was listed as the starter for the Texas game.
If Kenjon Barner runs at will through the K-State defense, nothing else will matter.
Oregon's star running back currently ranks No. 5 nationally in rushing with 1,624 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns. Interestingly, Barner is tied with K-State's quarterback Collin Klein in the total number of points scored this season—132.
The Wildcats shouldn't forget about Barner as a receiver either; he has 232 receiving yards and can be dangerous on the perimeter.
If Barner gets going like he did in the USC game (321 rushing yards and five touchdowns), it will be a long evening for Kansas State. But if the Wildcats can neutralize Barner like Stanford did, it will even things out.
Will K-State quarterback Collin Klein have won the Heisman Trophy by the time this game is played?
Maybe. Maybe not. But he's still the player to watch for the Wildcats. A true dual-threat quarterback, his statistics are highly intriguing in 2012.
While Klein is only No. 84 on passing completions per game nationally (Oregon's Marcus Mariota is No. 56) and Klein only has 15 passing touchdowns compared to Mariota's 30, Klein's strength is his running game. He has 890 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns.
Klein is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. Oregon fans think Mariota is the best QB in all the land, so this will be a fun competition to watch.
Oregon's NFL-bound defensive end Dion Jordan loves to make quarterbacks uncomfortable, and that's being nice.
At 6'7", 243 lbs. and quick as a cat, Jordan can terrorize a slow-moving or stubborn QB. In the K-State games I've seen this year, Collin Klein wasn't pressured that much and was allowed to do what he wanted.
Jordan, when healthy, is a ferocious pass-rusher. If Kansas State's O-line doesn't protect Klein from Jordan, the outcome of this game will change. But if Klein can successfully elude Jordan, the Wildcats will challenge Oregon.
A second key matchup will be Oregon running back Kenjon Barner vs. K-State's D-line. If Barner runs roughshod over the K-State defensive line, the Ducks will win. Barner is extremely difficult to bring down in open space when he has a full head of steam.
Only one team had any success neutralizing Barner. If I were K-State's defense, I'd be watching film of the Oregon vs. Stanford game over and over and over again.
...Kansas State can't stop the Ducks' potent offense.
The Wildcats looked strong defensively against Texas, but Oregon is not Texas. The Ducks have more weapons than General Petraeus—oops, bad analogy.
Shutting down Oregon's running game and Kenjon Barner is task one. But do that, Wildcats, and you had better not take your eyes off Marcus Mariota, De'Anthony Thomas, Colt Lyerla, Josh Huff, Keanon Lowe, etc.
The Ducks will burn you one way or they will burn you another way. The Wildcats defense had better get a really good night's sleep before this one.
...the Ducks can't put any pressure on Collin Klein. K-State's quarterback is capable of winning this game almost by himself.
Oregon has faced some excellent QBs this season, but most have been one-dimensional. There was almost no chance, for example, that USC's Matt Barkley was going to take off running. Klein is a different animal, and it's essential that the Ducks get up in his face regularly.
The other wild card that might factor in the Wildcats winning this game is if Oregon head coach Chip Kelly should announce in December that he is leaving for the NFL. While Duck fans and players understand that Kelly is the single hottest NFL prospect, the reality of his departure might result in the Ducks coming out flat.
The Ducks have too many weapons and too much to prove for Kansas State to win this game.
Oregon is one missed field goal away from being in the BCS National Championship Game. K-State's lone slip-up against Baylor was also traumatic, but the solid pounding (24-52) it took was in some ways easier to digest than Oregon's very close call against Stanford.
Both these teams and their fans are asking why a one-loss Alabama team is better and will be out to prove that they should have been in the big one. The Fiesta Bowl will be the most entertaining game of the bowl season.
OREGON 49 — KANSAS STATE 28